Is Facebook Still Worth It For Authors?

When I started blogging in 2012, creating a Facebook page linked to the blog was a natural move. Every blogger had one. I followed a few bloggers’ Facebook pages and even found new bloggers via Facebook shares.

facebook-box-1334045_1280As time went on, the powers that be tightened up the feeds, so to speak. Users don’t want to see dozens of posts from the possibly hundreds of pages they liked, Facebook said. They want to see more pics of your cousin’s baby and more vaguebooking from their friend’s niece and more conspiracy theory posts from Uncle Buster.

Another update recently happened, as described in this article. If you don’t want to click over, allow me to summarize: Facebook is further tightening the screws on Pages. That means page owners see an even smaller organic reach (followers who see page posts in their feeds) than they did before, and it was pretty dismal before.

I’ve seen the effects of this on my author page. As I write this post, it has 818 followers, which is good for a new-ish author like me but tiny when compared to the entire Facebook universe. Check out the reach for a few recent posts, in both number and percentage of page following.

organic reach1

This had 4 likes, reached 11%.

organic reach2

This had 1 like, reached 3%.

organic reach

This had 6 reactions and 1 share, reached 26%.

You can see how the higher interaction post had greater reach. We’ll get to that in a minute.

organic reach3

No interaction, reached 5%.

organic reach4

7 reactions, 11% reach

Do this long enough and you’ll see a pattern: posts with some interaction earn about 10% reach. Greater interaction and shares = more reach, but even that one with a share only reached 25% of the number of followers.

For an author trying to get their work out there, reaching only 10% of people who liked your page and wanted to hear from you sucks big time.

It is possible to increase engagement on your Facebook page, as I described in this post. Higher post engagement can lead to more organic reach. The flip side of this is publishing posts that get no engagement can lead to a smaller reach for all posts.

That means if you publish a bunch of posts that get no interaction, Facebook decides your page has less value and will show your posts to even fewer followers. Yikes.

Does that mean Facebook is a waste of time for page owners and more specifically, for authors who want to promote their work?

It depends on what you’re trying to do.

If you’re on Facebook to sell books and you’re not a huge name, you’re gonna have a bad time. I can probably count on one hand the number of books I’ve sold that came from Facebook links and ads.

But if you’re using it as part of your platform and for visibility, it is useful. Don’t forget that visibility and exposure count in ultimately selling your book. People are more likely to buy products they recognize.

And there are tricks you can use to grow overall reach – that’s organic + paid reach.

Trick 1: Ask followers to adjust their settings for your page.

If they go to a page and hover the cursor over the button that says “Liked”, a little menu will drop down. They can click “see first”, meaning your posts will appear first in their news feeds.

see first image

Trick 2: Remind followers of the Pages Feed on their home page. 

It’s in the left column if they’re on their computer. That’s where posts from pages you’ve liked appear – but in no sensible way. I find most posts there are days old, but at least I get to see them.

pages feed

Trick 3: Strategically boost posts.

When it comes to book and brand promotion, you have to think of Facebook as a paid platform if you want significant reach. But be smart about it. Boost posts that will get your cover in front of as many faces as possible. You can boost for as little as $5 and target audiences – which you should do. You want the users most likely to engage to see your post.

boost post

Trick 4: Remember quality over quantity.

If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this because it’s the most important: greater interaction = greater reach. If you post several posts every day and get minimal interaction, Facebook will limit your reach even further. Be picky about what you post. Encourage interaction by asking a question or share something funny that had a lot of interaction on another page. Odds are good you’ll get some interaction from it too.

This point is especially true when you pair it with the first trick – if followers see your posts first in their feeds and your posts are boring/annoying/incessant, at best they’ll change their setting back to where they don’t see you as much, and at worst they’ll unlike your page. Make sure the stuff you post is worth seeing.

Are you an author/blogger with a Facebook page? Share any tips you have in the comments!

 

50 thoughts on “Is Facebook Still Worth It For Authors?

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  3. This was really interesting to read. I haven’t set up a Facebook page yet as I’m not ready to attempt getting my work published but am hoping to do this early next year. Thanks for the tips, I’ll bear them in mind!

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Super info, Allison – but I still pass on FB personally. Haven’t been able to stand it for several years now, and rarely visit. If my blog didn’t autopost I’d probably have no FB presence at all most of the year, besides a check-in on my nephews once in a blue moon (when I approve a bunch of friendship requests before I run away again – screaming!)

    My prayer: “Oh please, God, please don’t make dealing with FaceBook what it takes to sell books.”

    Loved your second paragraph – my reaction in words more clever. You are made of better stuff than I.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you found it funny. I had second thoughts that you might find it argumentative or undercutting (after it was too late to take it back). WHEW!

        Premature in any case – my books are not ready for prime time just yet. If I keep reading and commenting on posts about publishing and marketing formats instead of finishing them, they might never get their time in the limelight!
        xx,
        mgh

        Like

  8. I’m not doing a lot on my author FB page at the moment. I’m waiting for the editing of book 2 in my series to be completed. FB keeps wanting me to boost my page. The 2 times I tried it there was a message stating that I had too many words on the post I wanted to boost! One of them was a post that FB suggested for me (say what?). That was confusing. Once book 2 is ready, I have a banner for advertising and will try it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! Be sure to invite your friends to like your page periodically. They’ll be your first fans. 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting! Let me know if you have any questions while learning the FB ropes.

      Like

  9. Hi Allison, Thanks for this post. I’m totally hopeless on FB. I don’t understand how to use it at all. WP links automatically for me but I don’t post anything individually. You have explained a few things that I hadn’t understood so I’ll be checking them out to see if I can make any more sense of it. Twitter – now that I get but, as LionAroundWriting says, we can’t be everywhere. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My stance is use the platforms that don’t feel like work. 😉 I had fun on Facebook before I started writing, so it wasn’t too tough to make the transition to an author page. You know where to find me if you want to dig into Facebook and need guidance. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. When I was writing my memoir, Secrets in Big Sky Country, I bought into “You MUST have a FB author page!” So over three years, I posted, wrote about writing, connected my WP posts to the page. I found that unless I paid for the Promote this Post ads, I got no followers, and then, there was virtually no interaction between me and followers. Right before my book came out, I merged my FB Page with my personal page (deleted the author page) and it’s been wonderful. I have lots of interaction with “friends” and my book has done well. The FB author page is a fluke in my opinion. I see most of the authors I know doing the same thing and they, too, say they see a real difference.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Here’s another fun aspect you may not have known about Facebook posts: they will flag certain keywords. I wrote a post, I forget which one, but I used the word offer or deal in it. My post had nothing to do with a real sales offer. In fact, if I recall it actually had nothing to do with my books at all (as I am a terrible self-promoter that way), but the newsfeed editors caught it and decided that I must have been attempting to sneak an ad through to my followers without paying for the privilege. My organic reach on that particular post dropped to maybe a handful of people, but I did get a very friendly offer from Facebook. They’d noticed I was offering something and was willing to help boost the post – for a fee.

    The best thing you can do is ask your biggest fans not associated with your page to occasionally go beyond liking a post and share it instead. This activity brings up the likelihood they will see your future posts in their feed and also increases the likelihood your post will show on other feeds too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! Those keywords are an important point that I forgot about. Thanks for the reminder.
      Good tip about occasionally asking for shares. The Facebook algorithm isn’t a secret so I’m sure many would be happy to help.
      Thanks for the great comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Good post.
    I find my facebook page all but redundant. Its linked to WordPress so WP followers have already read my posts, FB rarely leads to more than a couple of clicks.
    Twitter is far superior due to hashtags and linking to relevant people.
    I will keep the FB page for the sake of visibility, much like tumblr, but if a writer was to engage across all platforms they would never have time to actually be a writer.

    Liked by 3 people

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